Families and households

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, 47.0% of Asian households were made up of married couples or civil partners (with or without dependent children), the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups for this type of household
  • households headed by someone with Mixed ethnicity were the least likely out of all ethnic groups to be made up of married couples or civil partners (at 19.9%), but most likely to be made up of a cohabiting couple (at 11.2%)
  • 18.9% of Black households were made up of a single parent with dependent children, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups for this type of household; the lowest percentage was found among Asian households, at 5.7%
  • 22.6% of White households were made up of one or more pensioners, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups for this type of household, and more than three times the percentage of any other ethnic group; the lowest percentage was found among households headed by someone from the Other ethnic group, at 4.5%
Things you need to know

The Census is planned and carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) every 10 years in England and Wales. The last Census was held in March 2011.

The Census is the only survey to give a detailed picture of the whole population of England and Wales. It makes it possible to compare different parts of the country as all households are asked the same questions within the same time period.

94% of households completed the 2011 Census. Of those, 97% answered the question about ethnicity.

The ethnicity of a household is classified according to the ethnicity of the ‘household reference person’. (This is usually the most economically active member of the household – for example, someone in full-time employment – or the oldest member if some members have the same level of economic activity.)

For this reason, the data presented here doesn’t reflect the true ethnic composition of households that contain people from different ethnic backgrounds. However, because only 9% of relationships involve people from different ethnic groups, the analysis presented here is broadly reliable.

What the data measures

This data shows how households in England and Wales are made up, broken down by ethnicity.

A household is one person or a group of people (not necessarily related) who have the accommodation as their only or main residence. If it is a group, they must share cooking facilities and also share a living room, sitting room or dining area.

This data groups households according to whether they consist of:

  • a married couple or civil partnership
  • a cohabiting couple
  • a single parent family
  • a single person
  • pensioners (people aged 65 and over)
  • other households (for example multi-generational families, or unrelated people living together)

Households are also grouped according to whether they have any dependent children In all of these households, the number of dependent children under 18, if any, is also taken into account. (Dependent children are those aged under 15 years, or aged 16 to 18 years and in full-time education.)

The ethnic categories used in this data

The Census uses a standard set of ethnic groups to collect and classify ethnicity data.

The 2011 Census used 18 standardised ethnic categories, which collapse into 5 broad groups:

White:

  • English / Welsh / Scottish / Northern Irish / British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy or Irish Traveller
  • Any other White background, please describe

Mixed / Multiple ethnic groups:

  • Mixed White and Black Caribbean
  • Mixed White and Black African
  • Mixed White and Asian
  • Any other Mixed / Multiple ethnic background, please describe

Asian / Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background

Black / African / Caribbean / Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any other Black / African / Caribbean background

Other ethnic group:

  • Arab
  • Any other ethnic group

2. Household types by ethnicity

Percentage of each household type made up of the 5 broad ethnic groups
Household type Asian Black Mixed White Other
% % % % %
Single pensioner 1.2 1.4 0.4 96.7 0.2
Single non-pensioner 4.2 4.6 2.2 87.6 1.4
Pensioner couple 1.3 0.6 0.3 97.7 0.2
Married, no children 3.8 1.0 0.6 94.1 0.5
Married, Dependent children 10.8 3.1 1.0 83.6 1.5
Married, non-dependent children 6.4 1.4 0.5 91.0 0.6
Cohab, no children 1.8 1.4 1.4 94.9 0.4
Cohab, Dependent children 1.9 3.1 1.6 92.9 0.5
Cohab, non-dependent children 1.7 2.3 1.0 94.6 0.3
Lone parent, Dependent children 4.2 8.3 2.9 83.7 0.9
Lone parent, non-dependent children 4.7 4.9 1.1 88.7 0.7
Other, with dependent children 21.2 8.1 1.9 67.0 1.8
All full-time students 20.6 5.5 3.3 67.2 3.5
Other, All pensioners 1.7 1.5 0.7 95.8 0.3
Any other household type 10.4 4.4 2.1 81.7 1.4

Download table data for ‘Household types by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Household types by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, the White ethnic group made up 97.7% of households with a pensioner couple – by comparison, the same ethnic group made up 86.0% of the general population of England and Wales
  • Asian households made up 21.2% of other households (for example, those with a multi-generational family) with dependent children, 20.6% of all-student households, and 10.8% of those with a married couple with dependent children – by comparison, the Asian ethnic group made up 7.5% of the general population
  • the Black ethnic group made up 8.3% of single parent households with dependent children, and 8.1% of other households (for example, multi-generational households) with dependent children (compared with 3.3% of the general population)

3. Ethnic groups by household type

Percentage of household types within each ethnic group
Ethnicity Cohabiting couple Lone parent Married or same-sex civil partnership couple One person household Other household types Pensioner couple
% % % % % %
Asian 3.5 8.8 47.0 17.0 21.7 2.1
Black 6.8 24.3 21.6 31.7 14.1 1.5
Mixed 11.2 19.1 19.9 35.2 12.9 1.7
White 10.3 10.2 32.9 30.9 6.8 8.9
Other 5.2 10.5 37.0 30.7 15.0 1.4

Download table data for ‘Ethnic groups by household type’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Ethnic groups by household type’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, 32.9% of White households were made up of married couples or civil partners, 30.9% were one-person households, 10.3% were cohabiting couples, 10.2% were single parent families, and 8.9% were pensioner couples
  • nearly half (47.0%) of Asian households were made up of married couples or civil partners, and a further 17.0% were one-person households
  • 31.7% of Black households were made up of one person, 24.3% were single parent families, and 21.6% were married couples or civil partners
  • just over one-third of households headed by someone with Mixed ethnicity (35.2%) were made up of one person, and 19.9% were married couples or civil partners (the lowest percentage for this household type, out of all ethnic groups); a further 19.1% were single parent families

4. Households with dependent children by ethnicity

Percentage of households with dependent children by ethnicity
Ethnicity %
Asian 8.9
Bangladeshi 1.1
Chinese 0.6
Indian 2.9
Pakistani 2.6
Asian other 1.8
Black 4.8
Black African 2.7
Black Caribbean 1.5
Black other 0.6
Mixed 1.6
Mixed White/Asian 0.4
Mixed White/Black African 0.2
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 0.7
Mixed other 0.4
White 83.5
White British 77.6
White Irish 0.8
White Gypsy or Irish Traveller 0.1
White other 4.9
Other 1.2
Arab 0.5
Any other 0.7

Download table data for ‘Households with dependent children by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Households with dependent children by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, White households made up 83.5% of those with dependent children – by comparison, the same ethnic group made up 86.0% of the general population of England and Wales
  • Asian households made up 8.9% of those with dependent children, and 7.5% of the general population
  • Black households made up 4.8% of those with dependent children, and 3.3% of the general population
  • households headed by someone from the Mixed and Other ethnic groups made up 1.6% and 1.2% respectively of those with dependent children (and 2.2% and 1.0% of the general population respectively)

5. Asian ethnic group by household type

Asian ethnic group: household composition
Household type Asian Indian Pakistani Bangladeshi Chinese Asian other
% % % % % %
All full-time students 2.2 1.5 1.1 1.3 7.5 2.2
Any other household type 8.8 9.4 7.0 6.6 10.5 9.7
Cohab, Dependent children 1.5 1.0 1.5 1.6 2.0 1.8
Cohab, no children 1.8 1.5 0.8 0.8 4.7 2.4
Cohab, non-dependent children 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2
Lone parent, Dependent children 5.7 3.8 8.3 8.4 4.5 5.7
Lone parent, non-dependent children 3.1 3.5 3.1 3.2 2.7 2.7
Married, Dependent children 31.3 29.5 38.7 42.7 17.4 29.1
Married, no children 8.8 11.2 5.8 4.1 10.5 9.1
Married, non-dependent children 6.9 9.9 5.4 4.0 5.5 5.1
Other, All pensioners 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1
Other, with dependent children 10.5 9.1 15.3 16.2 4.2 9.2
Pensioner couple 2.1 3.3 1.2 0.6 1.9 1.6
Single non-pensioner 14.1 12.2 9.7 9.1 25.0 18.2
Single pensioner 2.9 3.8 1.9 1.3 3.4 2.8

Download table data for ‘Asian ethnic group by household type’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Asian ethnic group by household type’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, overall, just over half of Asian households (52.6%) were made up of couples who were married, civil partners or cohabiting (with or without dependent children), 17.0% were made up of one person, 10.5% were other households (for example, multi-generation families) with dependent children, and 8.8% were single parents (with or without dependent children)
  • among one-person households, 10.4% were headed by someone from the Bangladeshi ethnic group (the lowest percentage among Asian households), compared with 28.4% headed by someone from the Chinese ethnic group (the highest percentage)
  • over half of households headed by someone from the Bangladeshi and Indian ethnic groups were married households (either with or without dependent children), at 50.8% and 50.6% respectively; those headed by someone from the Chinese ethnic group were least likely out of all Asian groups to be married households, at 33.4%
  • households headed by someone from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups were most likely to be single parent households (either with or without dependent children) out of all Asian groups, at 11.6% and 11.4% respectively

6. Black ethnic group by household type

Black ethnic group: household composition
Household type Black Black African Black Caribbean Black other
% % % %
All full-time students 1.0 1.7 0.4 0.5
Any other household type 6.2 7.5 4.5 6.5
Cohab, Dependent children 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8
Cohab, no children 2.4 2.1 2.5 2.9
Cohab, non-dependent children 0.4 0.2 0.6 0.4
Lone parent, Dependent children 18.9 20.2 16.6 21.2
Lone parent, non-dependent children 5.4 3.6 7.7 4.8
Married, Dependent children 15.0 20.3 9.6 12.0
Married, no children 4.1 4.1 4.2 3.3
Married, non-dependent children 2.5 1.8 3.7 1.7
Other, All pensioners 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.1
Other, with dependent children 6.8 8.6 4.7 6.3
Pensioner couple 1.5 0.3 3.1 0.8
Single non-pensioner 26.2 23.4 27.7 32.2
Single pensioner 5.5 2.0 10.4 3.5

Download table data for ‘Black ethnic group by household type’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Black ethnic group by household type’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, overall, just under one-third (31.7%) of Black households were made up of one person, 29.9% were made up of couples who were married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting (with or without dependent children), and 18.9% were single parent households with dependent children
  • 3.1% of Black Caribbean households were made up of couples aged 65 years and over (the highest percentage among Black households), compared with 0.3% of Black African households (the lowest percentage)
  • 38.1% of Black Caribbean households were made up of one person (the highest percentage among Black households), compared with 25.4% of Black African households (the lowest percentage)
  • Black African households were most likely out of all Black households to be made up of married couples or civil partners (with or without dependent children), at 26.2%, while Black Caribbean households were least likely to be, at 17.5%

7. Mixed ethnic group by household type

Mixed ethnic group: household composition
Household type Mixed Mixed White/Black Caribbean Mixed White/Black African Mixed White/Asian Mixed other
% % % % %
All full-time students 1.4 0.9 1.5 2.1 1.5
Any other household type 7.3 5.1 7.5 8.5 9.3
Cohab, Dependent children 5.0 6.1 5.0 4.3 4.0
Cohab, no children 5.9 4.9 5.0 7.0 6.6
Cohab, non-dependent children 0.4 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.3
Lone parent, Dependent children 16.2 22.7 17.4 9.6 12.7
Lone parent, non-dependent children 2.9 3.2 3.2 2.2 2.9
Married, Dependent children 12.0 8.0 13.2 15.8 13.5
Married, no children 5.8 3.9 4.8 7.7 7.3
Married, non-dependent children 2.1 1.9 1.7 2.5 2.3
Other, All pensioners 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2
Other, with dependent children 3.9 3.9 5.3 3.2 4.0
Pensioner couple 1.7 1.6 0.8 2.2 1.7
Single non-pensioner 31.0 32.7 31.3 30.2 29.0
Single pensioner 4.3 4.6 2.8 4.2 4.7

Download table data for ‘Mixed ethnic group by household type’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Mixed ethnic group by household type’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, overall, over one-third (35.3%) of households headed by someone with Mixed ethnicity were made up of one person, 32.9% were made up of couples who were married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting (with or without dependent children), and 19.1% were made up of a single parent (with or without dependent children)
  • 26.0% of Mixed White and Asian households were made up of married couples or civil partners (with or without dependent children), compared with 13.8% of Mixed White and Black Caribbean households
  • 22.7% of Mixed White and Black Caribbean households were made up of single parents with dependent children (the highest percentage out of all Mixed ethnicity households), compared with 9.6% of Mixed White and Asian households (the lowest percentage)

8. White ethnic group by household type

White ethnic group: household composition
Household type White White British White Irish White Gypsy/Traveller White other
% % % % %
All full-time students 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.5 1.2
Any other household type 4.1 3.6 5.5 4.6 13.5
Cohab, Dependent children 4.2 4.3 2.2 6.3 4.1
Cohab, no children 5.6 5.5 4.8 3.2 8.1
Cohab, non-dependent children 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.6 0.2
Lone parent, Dependent children 6.7 6.7 4.2 20.4 6.1
Lone parent, non-dependent children 3.5 3.5 5.3 4.1 2.1
Married, Dependent children 14.2 14.1 10.4 12.6 18.9
Married, no children 13.0 13.2 9.9 6.8 10.3
Married, non-dependent children 5.7 5.9 5.7 3.6 2.8
Other, All pensioners 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.1
Other, with dependent children 2.0 1.8 1.4 5.6 5.2
Pensioner couple 8.9 9.2 9.3 2.0 2.6
Single non-pensioner 17.5 17.3 20.3 23.3 19.9
Single pensioner 13.4 13.8 19.4 6.1 4.9

Download table data for ‘White ethnic group by household type’ (CSV) Source data for ‘White ethnic group by household type’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, overall, 52.1% of White households were made up of couples who were married, civil partners or cohabiting (with or without dependent children), 30.9% were made up of one person, and 10.2% were single parents (with or without dependent children)
  • 19.4% of White Irish households were made up of a single person aged 65 years or older (the highest percentage out of all White households), compared with 4.9% of Other White households (the lowest percentage)
  • Gypsy/Roma households were the most likely out of all White households to be made up of a single person aged under 65 years, at 23.3%
  • 42.4% of White British households were made up of married couples (including pensioner couples) or civil partners (with or without children), the highest percentage out of all White households; the lowest percentage was found in Gypsy/Roma households, at 23.0%
  • over 1 in 5 Gypsy/Roma households (20.4%) were made up of a single parent with dependent children, compared with 4.2% of Irish households

9. Other ethnic group by household type

Other ethnic group: household composition
Household type Other Arab Any other
% % %
All full-time students 2.3 4.0 1.2
Any other household type 7.3 5.7 8.4
Cohab, Dependent children 2.4 1.9 2.7
Cohab, no children 2.7 2.0 3.1
Cohab, non-dependent children 0.2 0.1 0.2
Lone parent, Dependent children 7.8 7.4 8.0
Lone parent, non-dependent children 2.8 2.3 3.1
Married, Dependent children 25.5 29.9 22.7
Married, no children 7.3 6.7 7.7
Married, non-dependent children 4.2 3.1 5.0
Other, All pensioners 0.1 0.1 0.1
Other, with dependent children 5.4 4.6 5.9
Pensioner couple 1.4 1.1 1.7
Single non-pensioner 27.7 29.1 26.8
Single pensioner 3.0 2.2 3.5

Download table data for ‘Other ethnic group by household type’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Other ethnic group by household type’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • at the time of the 2011 Census, overall, 43.7% of households headed by someone from the Other ethnic group were made up of couples who were married, civil partners or cohabiting (with or without dependent children), 30.7% were made up of one person, and 10.6% were single parents (with or without dependent children)
  • around 3 in 10 Arab households (29.9%) were made up of a married couple with dependent children, compared to 22.7% of those headed by someone identifying as Any other ethnic group

10. Methodology

All households in England and Wales received a Census questionnaire through the post from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), along with an information leaflet and a pre-paid envelope for return by post.

Households in Wales received both English language and Welsh language questionnaires and information leaflets.

Householders could complete their questionnaire either:

  • on paper, and return it by post
  • online – each paper questionnaire had a unique internet access code

Responses were uploaded every day onto the questionnaire tracking system throughout the duration of the Census. This meant that households could be contacted if their questionnaire had not been submitted.

Communal establishments like care homes, and special groups (such as travellers), had their questionnaires hand delivered, collected and uploaded by Census employees. Individuals within communal establishments could also complete their questionnaire online.

There were 56 questions in the 2011 Census questionnaire:

  • 14 questions were about the household and its accommodation
  • 42 questions were for each member of the household

Topics included work, health, national identity, passports, ethnicity, education, second homes, language, religion and marital status.

There was an extra question about the Welsh language for households in Wales.

A census is designed to cover the whole population, but some people or households are inevitably left out by accident. A good census design will recognise this and take account of the error with quality controls.

ONS developed a ‘coverage assessment and adjustment methodology’ which estimates and adjusts Census data for the number of people and households not counted or counted incorrectly.

All the 2011 Census population estimates have been subject to quality assurance using demographic analysis, survey data, qualitative information and administrative data. This ensures that the figures are plausible and that users of Census data can have confidence in the quality and accuracy of the information.

Relative confidence intervals for the population by ethnicity down to local authority level can be found in the ONS archive.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

The ONS uses a number of ways to protect the confidentiality of individuals and households, including:

  • record swapping, where small numbers of records are swapped between geographical areas
  • restricting the amount of detail shown in published data, particularly at low level geographies like local authorities

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Census user guide.

2011 UK Censuses.

11. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Every 10 years

Purpose of data source

The Census is carried out every 10 years. It provides information that government needs to plan and run public services and is used as a benchmark for other statistical estimates. It also helps illustrate differences between various groups in the population.

12. Download the data

Families and households - Spreadsheet (csv) 104 KB

This file contains the following: Measure, Ethnic group, Year, Household type, Value, value_label, Source, Geography